Bhubaneswar: After the Chhera Pahanra (sweeping the floor) rituals Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra adorned the Hati Besha (Elephant Attire) on the occasion of Devasnana Purnima on Thursday.
While the entry of devotees has been barred in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, lakhs of devotees were able to have the darshan of the Hati Besha of the divine brothers and Padma Besha of their sister Devi Subhadra on the Snana Bedi or bathing altar through digital means.
The water used for bathing the three deities was taken from the well inside the Jagannath Temple. A total of 108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water were used to bath the deities.
As per rituals, 35 pots of water were used for bathing Lord Jagannath, 33 for Lord Balabhadra, 22 for Devi Subhadra, and 18 for Sudarshan.
As Puri’s titular king, Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb, did not perform the Chhera Pahanra rituals considering the restrictions for Covid-19, a young servitor of the holy shrine, Narayana Mudirasta, performed the rituals at around 10.45 AM.
Following it, the materials for the Hati Besha arrived from the Raghav Das Matha and Gopaltirtha Matha. While the two brothers were dressed up as an elephant, their younger and loveable sister Devi Subhadra gave darshan to the devotees in lotus flower get up.
Behind this special ‘Gaja’ or ‘Hati Besha’ there is an anecdote.
Researchers mention that this unique darshan was given to one Pandit Ganapati Bhatt of Maharashtra’s Mahaganapatya community in the 15th century. Bhatt was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha and had visited the age-old shrine in Puri to have darshan of Lord Jagannath. On this Snana Purnima day, he witnessed ‘Chaturdha Murti’ (four idols) on Snana Mandap, but got disenchanted as he had wished to witness his presiding deity Lord Ganesha within Lord Jagannath.
However, Lord Jagannath believed to have disguised as a ‘sebayat’ (temple servitor) and insisted Pandit Bhatt to return to Sri Mandir. He got overwhelmed to have the cherished darshan of Lord Ganesha on the same Snana Mandap. Thenceforth, the deities are being decked up in the enchanting ‘Gajanan Besha’ or ‘Gaja Besha’ or ‘Hati Besha’ every year on the sacred occasion.
The Bahuda Pahandi of the deities will be held between 5 pm and 8 pm. The deities will be taken to the Anasara Ghar (sick room) as it is believed that they fall ill after taking the bath.
The return procession of the deities from the bathing pandal to the sick room inside the temple will take place between 5pm-8pm. The Anasara (sick) rituals will begin from that day and continue for the next 15 days.